There's a new plant-based leather on the scene, and from what I can tell, it looks great and performs well. It's definitely a much-needed innovation, as manufacturing real (cow) leather is incredibly destructive to the environment.
Smithsonian magazine explains:
The use of plant-based leather comes during a time when scientists and innovators are trying to come up with solutions for the climate crisis and animal agriculture. Manufacturing bovine leather wreaks more havoc on the environment than any other type of fabric—even plastic-based leathers—because of deforestation and methane emissions connected to animals raised for leather and meat, the Guardian reports. Livestock alone make up nearly 15 percent of the globe's greenhouse gas emissions, EcoWatch reports.
Plant-based leathers have the potential to revolutionize the fashion industry. Now, MycoWorks, a California-based biotech company, has created a new eco-friendly, vegan leather derived from fungi. The leather turns mycelium—threads from the root structure of mushrooms—into a material that imitates the look and feel of animal-based leather, reports Jess Cartner-Morley for the Guardian.
Inhabitat provides some photos of some beautiful hats that are part of the "Reishi Collection" made by luxury hatmaker Nick Fouquet, using the Fine Mycelium leather created by MycoWorks. Inhabitat explains:
Mycelium is making headlines around the globe as a viable bio-product for making helmets, packaging materials, shoes and even coffins. Biomaterial experts at California-based MycoWorks are working with a proprietary leather alternative called Reishi that was used in a luxury hat collection as the first fashion release of the product.
It looks to me a lot like the cork products I've seen all over Portugal—they make all kinds of things from cork, which is also a sustainable product. I've seen beautiful shoes, purses, belts, wallets, journals, picture frames and more made out of cork. Hurray for sustainably made products, whether out of mushrooms or cork! I'm here for it!